Shane McCrae is the author of Mule, Blood, Forgiveness Forgiveness (forthcoming from Factory Hollow Press), and three chapbooks—most recently, Nonfiction. His poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Fence, LIT, Pleiades, and elsewhere, and he has received a Whiting Writers’ Award and a fellowship from the NEA. He teaches in the brief-residency M.F.A. program at Spalding University.
In Shane McCrae’s astonishing second chapbook, In Canaan, he inhabits the personae of the escaped slave Margaret Garner, who, in the mid-1800s, murdered one of her daughters in order to keep her from returning to slavery. “I couldn’t stop/Hurting her because it hurt,” writes McCrae in the voice of Garner, “Before that night I never had the chance to love / Anyone/ she was the first person I loved.” McCrae composes in broken forms and shattered fragments, retelling a harrowing historical story through the imagined first-person point of view of its tortured and terrified heroine.